Heavy’s Husky Network Puts Ads On Anything

Heavy, the testosterone-fueled video portal with $20 million in venture capital to spend, is opening up their advertising system to anyone who can embed a video clip. The new Husky Network will surround a video player with an ad banner wraparound, and give you a share of the revenues. It comes in feature player, pop-up and overlay flavors — and there’s no need to actually produce your own video content to start making money today!

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Something tells me this move isn’t going to be popular with content creators or, for that matter, video-sharing sites. MyHeavy faced criticism when the site started pulling content from RSS feeds and placing the clips in a remarkably similar advertising context. Technically, it seems to exploit a bit of a loophole, as the video content is hosted in one place, the ads served from another and the two just happen be to intimately entangled on a third-party site.

How easy would it be to, say, re-create the MyHeavy experience? Not difficult at all with a little server-side scripting. Generate a YouTube feed for the search “star wars,” set up a blog to create a post when new content appears, wrap embedded clips into the Husky Network banner, et voila — you’ve got a blog that constantly updates with Star Wars-themed video clips that will generate ad revenue without the need for further human intervention.

A brief tour of the Husky Network site doesn’t reveal any terms of use, and the release doesn’t give any details about the context in which the ads can be used. Signing up for the service requires a simple email, so hopefully the Heavy team will take steps to ensure that my goofy vacation video doesn’t end up surrounded by ads three times the size promoting Rush Hour 3.

For advertisers, this offers an opportunity to have your brand associated with anything from hand-holding otters to offensive hate speech, depending on which psychographic vertical you’re trying to reach — without having to cut deals with sites like YouTube, Revver, or MySpace. Since Heavy has been using the wraparound banner for years, they have a wealth of metrics on clickthroughs to prove the format’s effectiveness. “Husky Network is building unprecedented reach around video,” promises the release. Which sounds kind of dirty, but then, leveraging the work of others to generate ad revenue kind of does, too.

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